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HISTORY OF CLEAR LAKE CALLAYOMI MASONIC LODGE #183

(Copied from documents found in the vault at

Clearlake/Callayomi Lodge

By Richard Gorman, W. M. 2006)

           The following brief history of Clear Lake Lodge #183, F.&A.M. is compiled from the word of old members of the Lodge, as well as from “100 Years of Masonry”, written by Past Grand master Leon O. Whitsell, Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic History, and from Grand Lodge reports made by the Secretary of Clear Lake Lodge.  As the minutes of the Lodge were lost in the fire of 1933, it is interesting to note, at this writing, that there is much more to the history of the Lodge and to the comments of the older members that could be written, but space does not allow the recording of all the facts.

          In 1867, Caymus Lodge, located in St. Helena, changed its name from Caymus to St. Helena Lodge.  One of its first actions after the change was to recommend to Grand Lodge, the petition of Clear Lake Lodge at Lower Lake, California.  Twelve Brothers met in a convention on May 5, 1866 at the new hall in Lower Lake to discuss the forming of a Lodge.  They called on William R. Mathews of Caymus Lodge of St. Helena to act as chairman.  L. B. Thurman, of Ionic Lodge of Iowa Hill, was appointed Secretary.  They elected officers for the proposed Lodge and voted to have Edward Evey, Master of Caymus Lodge, to come up and examine them as to their qualifications to hold office.  Another meeting was held in December with W. M. Evey present to conduct the examinations.  He passed everyone but W. P. Berry who had been elected Master, but the matter was quickly and easily settled when Brother Berry resigned to make way for Brother L. B. Thurman who was better qualified for the office.  The Senior and Junior Wardens were, respectively, Charles Wormwood and C. Noble Copsey. Then with the recommendation of Caymus Lodge, they petitioned for a dispensation which was granted by Grand Master Claiborne on February 4, 1867 and two weeks later on February 18, 1867, Clear Lake Lodge held its first meeting at which time eight petitions for degrees were received.  The officers that held office while the Lodge was under dispensation were as follows:  L. B. Thurman, Master;  Charles Wormwood, Senior Warden;  C. Noble Copsey, Junior Warden;  W. R. Mathews, Treasurer; J. D. Hendrichs, Secretary;  J. D. Adams, Senior Deacon;  T. M. Harris, Junior Deacon, and W. W. Davis, Tiler.

          Clear Lake Lodge received its Charter on October 10, 1867, but for some reason did not hold its first meeting until January 1868.  By that time it had well over twenty members and was growing fast.  However, a study of its progress by decades after 1868 shows losses or standstills about as often as its gains.  The Lodge membership reached the 30’s during the seventies and eighties, but did not stay there long.  In 1886 alone, it lost 10 members through deaths, withdrawals and suspension for non-payment of dues, dropping to 27 and generally continuing in these brackets for the next thirty years before taking a positive upward swing during the 1920’s.  By 1949 it had 53 members, in 1954 the membership had increased to 100 and during the centennial year, membership reached 166.  Brother L. H. Gruwell served as Tiler of the Lodge for 32 years.  William Jardine Clayton, of Caymus Lodge No. 93, demitted to Yount Lodge No. 12 of Napa, California, affiliated with Clear Lake Lodge and received a 75 year button.  Wood Crawford was raised in Clear Lake Lodge on April 7, 1868 and demitted to help organize Hartley Lodge in Lakeport.  He was elected Master of Hartley Lodge and later was appointed Inspector of the far flung Lodges of Lake and Mendocino Counties, which took him from Clear Lake to Point Arena on the coast.  In the struggle of the Lodge to keep officers, it is well to note that many of the members served in elective offices many times.

W. H. Cunningham served as Master of the Lodge for a total of 18 years during the period of 1875 to 1900.  Luis Jago served 4 years, John Francis served 5 years and C. E. Corum served 4 years.  Paul St. John, Master in 1930, served as Inspector, as did C. E.  Corum.  Walter Reichert was Master in 1921-22 and served as principal architect at the Cornerstone Ceremonies of the new Temple in 1965.

          The history of the Clear Lake Lodge to this point was basically researched and recorded by the late Brother Sam Jackson, P.M., Lodge Historian, for the 1967 Centennial Ceremonies.

          Serious financial problems arose soon after the construction of the new Temple, and by early 1968 the Lodge was faced with possible loss of the building by foreclosure.  A Special Summons Meeting of the Lodge was called in May 1968 to address this financial emergency.  During this meeting Brother Hugh I. Ketterman, P.M., Secretary, reported that a group of Brothers had pledged over $10,000.00 to meet the immediate financial needs and save the Temple.  During the following two to three years, Brother Ketterman organized a small Trust Association, which in brief, sold non-interest bearing notes to lodge members in order to raise the needed capital to pay for the new Temple.  At the Stated Meeting held in March 1971, Brother Ketterman proudly announced to the brethren that the goal of the Masonic Trust Association had been attained and that the debt against the Temple had been paid and that the Title to the temple would remain with the association.  During the following ten years, the Lodge continued to grow and prosper, not only increasing in membership but the Lodge also was able to steadily and impartially recall the non-interest bearing notes held by its members.  The “Ten Year Plan” of the Masonic Trust Association was completed in May 1981 when the last of the notes was redeemed.  The Master of the Lodge, Kenneth W. Joy read a proclamation designating the Stated Meeting of June 1981 as Hugh I. Ketterman Night in honor of Brother Ketterman and his group of highly motivated dedicated Masonic Brothers who had worked so hard to defray the lodge obligation.  Although an emblematic mortgage burning ceremony was conducted at the meeting, the event was officially recognized at a function to be held in June 1982, which was participated in by all of the officers and dignitaries of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California.

          The construction of the Clearlake Temple and the meeting of its financial burden reflect the unselfish efforts and the true comradeship of all the Lodge members and have thus given birth to the Masonic Spirit that is Clear Lake Lodge Number 183. 

          In all, more than 80 Masters served this Lodge, the last being Worshipful Donald R. Mann, who was the Master in 1989.   

The Callayomi Lodge #282 of Middletown, California was officially chartered on October 14, 1887 following a meeting of 12 brethren at the Odd Fellows Hall in Middletown in 1885.  The first Master was M. S. Sakyer.  Sixty-three Masters served this Lodge during its tenure, several for more than one term.  Charles G. “Bud” Hartje, P.M. was the last Master when the two Lodges merged and were affiliated in 1989 as the Clearlake/Callayomi Masonic Lodge #183, Free and Accepted Masons.

 

-Celebrating 147 years of local Masonic Tradition and Brotherly Love-